The Most Popular Types Of Goldfish (2024 List)

Three Goldfish Near the Aquarium Substrate
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: April 12, 2024
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Walking into a pet store and being faced with a vast assortment of goldfish can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. If you’re struggling to select one as your first pet, we’ve gathered our top favorites goldfish types for you, detailing crucial aspects like their size, mandatory tank environment, and the level of experience necessary to care for them. This all has been curated to assist you in investigating and picking the perfect goldfish.

Article Summary

  • There are over 200 different varieties or types of goldfish, with selective breeding resulting in a wide range of unique traits and characteristics.
  • Goldfish are categorized into two main types: single-tail goldfish with streamlined bodies and are usually fast swimmers; fancy goldfish with double tails, unique features like wens (crown-like features on the head), and more ornate fins.
  • Some goldfish types are more suitable for beginners due to their ease of care, while others require more experience and attention.

How many types of goldfish are there?

There are over 200 different varieties or types of goldfish today. As such a popular aquarium fish, it’s no wonder that many hobbyists selectively bred the common goldfish to have specific traits such as longer tails, head growth, double tails, and various colorings. Goldfish are a hardy fish and almost all goldfish can survive in an outdoor pond or in a goldfish tank. They are excellent companions and can be isolated or kept with multiple tank mates.

Despite having so many different varieties there is only one scientific name for all goldfish species: Carassius auratus.

Types of goldfish

There are two main types of goldfish breeds, those with a single tail and those of the fancy variety. The tails of Fancy goldfish will often be forked. Fancy goldfish are bred and sought out for various unique attributes such as: eye-catching scale patterns, wens (crown-like features on the fish’s head), or particularly unusual or flowy fins. Many physiological features can differ between single tail and fancy goldfish.

Single Tail Goldfish Varieties

Single tailed goldfish varieties have characteristically streamlined bodies with a single caudal and anal fins. Single tailed goldfish, like the Nymph goldfish are usually fast swimming and can commonly be found at pet stores. Because they are easier to breed and therefore more prevalent, they tend to be more affordable than most fancy goldfish.

FUN FACT

There is an egg-shaped variety of single-tailed goldfish with long flowing fins called the Nymph goldfish, resembling the delicate wings of a nymph, hence the name!

Fancy Goldfish Types

Types of fancy goldfish are easily identified by their double tails that are long and very ornate. Additionally, they have an egg shaped body and are very slow moving. Unfortunately, the differences in speed mean that you can’t keep single tailed and fancy goldfish types together.

1. Common Goldfish

Common Goldfish
Common Goldfish

The common goldfish is the original orange goldfish. Every goldfish bred has this fish as a common ancestor. Its long body is well known in the aquarium world and is sometimes used as a feeder fish for larger species. Because it is a single tail variety, it should not be kept with fancy fish varieties like the bubble eyes or fantail goldfish.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: up to 12 inches
  • Required Tank Size: at least 20 gallons

2. Bubble Eyes Goldfish

Bubble Eye Goldfish
Bubble Eye Goldfish

The first fancy goldfish to make our list, the bubble eye goldfish has characteristic, protruding eyes from which it acquires its name. The “bubble eyes” are actually caused by fluid filled sacs in the eye cavity. Its round body makes it a slow swimmer. The bubble eye goldfish is quite sensitive and does not do well with tank mates that are known nippers. Because of their sensitivity, you should not place sharp edged decor or plants in a bubble eye goldfish tank.

  • Care Level: Easy to moderate
  • Size: 3-4 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 20 gallons

TIP

If your bubble eye goldfish’s eye sac pops it can lead to serious infection. Be sure to immediately remove the fish from the tank into quarantine and start regular water changes to prevent infection from developing.

3.Comet Goldfish

Comet Goldfish In An Aquarium
Comet Goldfish

One of the first varieties descended from the common goldfish, the comet looks extremely similar. However, one can differentiate a comet-tailed goldfish by looking for its deeply forked tail and color variations in yellow, red, and white. Red coloration can be found mainly along the pelvic and dorsal fin.

This streamlined fish is fast and enjoys darting around your tank. As a single tail variety, it will do well in the same aquarium as the common goldfish. This variety of fish is another that is popularly used as a feeder goldfish due to their streamlined body that makes it easy for predators to swallow.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 10 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

4. Fantail Goldfish

Fantail Goldfish
Fantail Goldfish

One of the first fancy goldfish to be bred, the fantail goldfish is distinguished by its double tail, high dorsal fin, and egg-shaped body. This fish is fairly social, calm and does well in a community freshwater tank. The fantail goldfish is aptly named for its large, forked double tail which looks like a fan. 

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 6-8 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallon

5. Ranchu

Red and Gold Ranchu Goldfish
Ranchu Goldfish

Often nicknamed as the “king of all goldfish” due to their crown-like head, the ranchu goldfish is quite sought after in the aquarium world. They are likely descended from the lionhead goldfish which has a similarly shaped crown head. Aside from their crown head, these fish stand out due to their lack of a dorsal fin and coloration. The ranchu goldfish is commonly colored black which increases the interest from aquarists everywhere. These fish do best when kept with other fancy goldfish as they are very slow moving and are not very agile.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 5-8 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

FUN FACT

The “crown” on a goldfish’s head is actually called a wen. In some fish, like the ranchu goldfish the wen can grow over their eyes making them very clumsy.

6. Ryukin

Ryukin Goldfish Looking At Its Own Reflection
Ryukin Goldfish

Descended from fantail goldfish, this fish gets its name from the Ryukyu islands in Japan where it was supposedly first bred. The ryukin goldfish variety is easily distinguishable from other goldfish by its large shoulder hump. They do well in ponds as long as the water quality is good and they don’t have aggressive tank mates. These fish come in coveted color varieties such as tri-color, calico, and chocolate. 

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 6-10 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

7. Shubunkin

Shubunkin Goldfish
Shubunkin Goldfish

A peaceful fish, the shubunkin goldfish originated as a cross breed from the telescope eyes goldfish, comet and common goldfish. There are 3 of this fancy goldfish type including the American, London, and Bristol Shubunkins. The shubunkin goldfish thrive in outdoor ponds and can swim pretty fast because of their slender body and shorter and rounder tail fins.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 12-18 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 75 gallons

FUN FACT

Shubunkins are commonly called “blue” but this pigment is actually not found in their skin. The blue appearance comes from the black coloring underneath the fish’s skin overlaid with the red, orange, silver, and white pigments of the skin.

8. Wakin Goldfish

wakin goldfish
(1) Wakin Goldfish

Wakin goldfish are one of the most difficult to find goldfish and are known for their large size. This unique goldfish are actually flat bodied and are a cross breed of the Comet and Fantail fancy goldfish. Their dorsal fin is upright and run’s along the length of their back into a double tail. They grow quickly and can reach a size of 10 inches, color variations include calico, red, white, and chocolate.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 10 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

9. Veiltail Goldfish

Veiltail Goldfish
Veiltail Goldfish

This goldfish variety will never be spotted in the wild. The beautiful Veiltail goldfish is only ever bred in captivity. They are well known for their long fins that take up to half the length of their egg shaped bodies. They also have upright dorsal fins. They are slow swimmers and enjoy digging in the substrate. 

  • Care Level: Difficult
  • Size: 7-8 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

10. Oranda Goldfish

Oranda Goldfish
Oranda Goldfish

Perhaps most famous for the large, noticeable wen on their foreheads, the Oranda goldfish is a fairly popular variety of fancy goldfish. They are quite picky and won’t tolerate poor water quality. They can grow quite large and can be quite expensive in the world of goldfish keeping. For example, the red cap oranda goldfish regularly sells for between $20-$50. For comparison, the common goldfish can be sold for as little as $0.20.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 8-9 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

TIP

Despite their small size, goldfish require very large tanks. This is because they produce a massive amount of waste that can overwhelm the bioload in a smaller tank.

11. Pearlscale Goldfish

White Pearlscale Goldfish in a Planted Aquarium
White Pearlscale Goldfish

The pearlscale goldfish gets its name due to its scales nacreous or pearl-like sheen. They have a large, round body, small head, short tail fins, and one of the small goldfish breeds. As juveniles, pearlscale goldfish may lack some of their more distinctive adult attributes such as their bright colors or round body. In fact, one of the most common mistakes first time goldfish owners make is overfeeding juvenile pearlscale goldfish in the hopes of helping their belly become rounder.

However, this will develop naturally as they mature and without additional feedings. Aside from this common mistake, the pearlscale goldfish is actually one of the easier types of fancy goldfish to take care of!

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 4-6 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

12. Celestial Eye Goldfish

Group of celestial Eyes Goldfish
(2) Celestial Eye Goldfish

The celestial eye goldfish is one of the many types of goldfish that have protruding eyes. They lack a dorsal fin, but have a double tail, though they are not particularly agile when it comes to swimming. Keeping them with other slow swimming and sensitive fish such as Peacock goldfish. We advise not pairing this fish with telescope eye goldfish or bubble eye goldfish as all three have poor vision and will likely bump into each other. 

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 4-6 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

FUN FACT

When celestial eye goldfish fry hatch the eyes are normal but gradually begin to bulge out and turn upwards within the first six months.

13. Telescope Eyes Goldfish

Telescope Eyes Goldfish
Telescope Eyes Goldfish

Telescope eye goldfish are easy to take care of but are particularly sensitive to light due to their large eyes. Telescope goldfish can live up to 25 years making them a large commitment for aquarium keepers. Like all fancy goldfish they are descended from the common goldfish, but telescope goldfish have earned other names such as the Moor goldfish, Demekin goldfish, and dragon eyed goldfish. That being said, the telescope goldfish should be kept with other calm and docile fish.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 4-8 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

14. Butterfly Goldfish

Butterfly Goldfish
(3) Butterfly Goldfish

One of the rarer variations of fancy goldfish, the butterfly tail goldfish looks extremely similar to the telescope eye goldfish if it had a peacock tail. Their dorsal fin is large and upright and usually includes a bold edging color, different from the main fin. Color varieties include calico, blue, red, and even lavender. They are captive bred and have a similar shoulder hump to the ryukin goldfish, but have an egg shaped body. Like the common and comet goldfish they prefer cold water temperatures.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 5-8 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

15. Black Moor Goldfish

Black Moor Goldfish
(4) Black Moor Goldfish

A popular choice among aquarists due to its black coloring which is a stark contrast from the oranges of the comet goldfish or the red and white of the wakin goldfish. Due to being bred from two very hardy varieties (the red telescope and veiltail) the black moor can withstand a wide variety of environments and can make an excellent pond fish or be the perfect accent for your goldfish aquarium. However, this variety is man made, and not often seen in pet stores. Instead, if you want one of them you should head to a reputable breeder to get a high quality fish.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: 8 inches 
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

Extra!: The Lionhead Goldfish

Lionhead Goldfish
Lionhead Goldfish

We couldn’t skip telling you about the lionhead goldfish which is one of our favorites of the fancy variety. Like ranchu’s, they have a large wen or hood that can take up to a year to develop. Their dorsal fin is nonexistent and they have short anal and caudal fins. They were named after a mythological Asian animal the lion-dog (guardian lions). Despite their namesake’s strength, they are very sensitive and should be kept in a goldfish-only aquarium.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Size: 6 inches
  • Required Tank Size: 30 gallons

FUN FACT

Did you know the lionhead’s wen is so large it stretches over their gills? No one knows if the gill covers serve some sort of evolutionary purpose or if it’s detrimental to their health.

Of course with over two hundred varieties we couldn’t go describe each and every goldfish (but we wish we could!). Other varieties that are worth a mention include the Chocolate pompom goldfish, panda moor goldfish, dragon eye goldfish, watonai goldfish, Siamese doll goldfish, and Nankin goldfish. Each variety has a special and unique body shape and appearance making the goldfish a wonderful family for any fish keeper to start with. 

FAQS

Though goldfish are one of the most common household pets you’d be surprised at how much it takes to care and maintain their living environment. Read on to learn about some of the most frequently asked questions paired with our expert answers.

What type of goldfish is best?

Which goldfish breeds work best for you depends on what you are looking for in your goldfish tank and what sort of tank mates you have with them. If you’re looking for a fast moving, personable fish that will move in and out of decor providing lots of entertainment a comet goldfish or common goldfish would do nicely.

On the other hand, if you want a slow moving fish that does well alone, we would suggest a bubble eye goldfish. Finally, if you’re looking to add a bit of color to your fish tank, you could explore a fancy breed that has colorings such as calico goldfish, black goldfish, and even blue goldfish. Whatever goldfish you choose, just make sure to research the specific needs of that variety in order to ensure the happiness and health of your new pet!

What Goldfish type is easiest to take care of?

Single tails are easier to keep than fancy goldfish. Common or comet goldfish have a long and similar body shape that are easy to manage. The fancy goldfish variety has round body shapes that can be fragile when bumped into and are better suited for more experienced aquarists. 

Which Fancy Goldfish is easiest to care for?

Fancy goldfish are almost always going to be more difficult to care for than single tail goldfish. However, if you’re dead set on buying a fancy goldfish but don’t want one that’s too difficult to care for, we recommend the fancy fantail goldfish.

What type of goldfish is hardy?

In general goldfish are a very hardy species and can tolerate a wide variety of temperatures and other water parameters, however, single tail goldfish types are more hardy than fancy goldfish varieties. This is mostly due to their streamlined body and agility. The common goldfish is probably the most hardy of all the varieties.

Can you mix goldfish types?

Many goldfish swimming in a tank
Many goldfish swimming in a tank

Different goldfish can live in the same tank depending on their attitudes towards others. Slow moving goldfish breeds such as the black moor goldfish, or oranda goldfish do better with each other than they would with other goldfish that swim fast. 

Different types of goldfish are often mixed and bred together…

Different types of goldfish are often mixed and bred together as a way to develop more rare species. One example is a lionhead and ranchu mix to make the “lionchu.”

Do all goldfish eat the same thing?

Yes, all goldfish are omnivores and can have the same diet. This makes it especially easy to keep a goldfish-only aquarium. Since goldfish varieties have the same diet preference, it is easy choosing what food to give them, when to feed them, and how often to feed your goldfish.

What type of goldfish gets the biggest?

The oranda goldfish has the potential to be the largest, closely followed by the veiltail goldfish, and jikin goldfish. Other large goldfish species include the Watonai, Wakin, and common goldfish.

FUN FACT

In Hong Kong, a red oranda lovingly named “Bruce” grew to be about 15 inches long or roughly the size of a house cat. He was the first goldfish to ever hold the title of “world’s longest goldfish” in the Guinness book of world records.

What is the rarest goldfish type? 

The meteor goldfish is the rarest goldfish. This fish is tailless but has a developed anal fin. Technically, since this fish doesn’t have a tail it can’t be classified as a single-tailed or fancy goldfish. However, there is only speculation that this fish actually exists as it’s hard to breed and supposedly is very weak. In other words, the meteor goldfish is like the unicorn of the goldfish world.

The next rarest goldfish is the Tamasaba goldfish because of how hard it is to breed this rare Japanese goldfish. Due to its genetic mutations the Tamasaba is often fragile and disease-ridden making it hard for breeders to sell a healthy one.

The rarest color in the goldfish family is blue. Shubunkins are the most common goldfish that have the blue gene.

What is the most expensive goldfish type?

The most expensive goldfish that we’ve seen so far is the Tamasaba goldfish. A very uncommon and unique fish that has a straight, upright dorsal fin and a forked double tail. Usually the top half of their body is majority red, with the bottom half and fins being mostly white. They can grow up to 10 inches.

Prices for this fish starts at $65 US dollars but can increase up to $150 depending on the breeder and genetic pool.

What types of fish can be kept with goldfish

Depending on what type of goldfish you have you can have a variety of different tank mates. There is one thing that all goldfish aquarium companions need to have in common though: peacefulness. Goldfish are mediocre swimmers and have no natural defenses so they should not be housed with any aggressive or semi-aggressive tank mates.

Additionally, tank mates should be similarly sized to their goldfish companions or risk being mistaken for a snack. Fancy goldfish varieties that swim slower can be housed with slightly smaller fish as long as they are fast swimmers and can easily escape.

Conclusion

In conclusion there is a goldfish variety for every kind of fish keeper no matter your preferences, experience, or tank conditions. Keep in mind that not all varieties are on this list but we have many care guides on special types of goldfish that you can use to research before you purchase. It is always recommended that you research your goldfish’s specific variety in case they have special care instructions.

(1) Asturio Cantabrio, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
(2) Michelle Jo, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
(3) Syberspace, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
(4) Riyad Youssef, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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